Conflicting Coop size info

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Annie's Backyard Flock, May 17, 2011.

  1. Annie's Backyard Flock

    Annie's Backyard Flock Out Of The Brooder

    I have been researching how big to make my coop. I may be "over researching", something I do ALL the time. One school of thought is 2 sq. ft. per chicken; then another said 4sq. ft. I have 6 chickens (2 Red Star, 2 Marans and 2 Barred Rocks); I live in S.E. Pennsylvania. They will have a 100 sq. ft. run attached to the coop and a fenced in yard that is 3,000 sq. ft. for "ranging". I am worried that when the winter is too harsh to go out in the run, they may get a little "hen pecked", pardon the pun, cooped up in their coop (I'm just a pun a minute!). I already had the plans drawn and materials purchased and then I started to second guess myself. I would love to know if I should make the coop larger? The original design is only 3' by 6'. The new design I'm working on would be 4' by 8', almost double the square footage. Any suggestions?
  2. aggie9296

    aggie9296 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 28, 2011
    Panama City, FL
    When in doubt, go bigger. Bad weather and small coops probably not a good combo. Plus, you'll probably fall victim to the "just another couple of hens" syndrome and end up with more anyway. Then you will be building a bigger or second coop.

    My 2 turned in to 6. Have about 2.5-3 sq ft per bird in tractor. But they only sleep in there and do fine.
  3. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2009
    South Central, PA
    We live in South Central PA and our chickens only have 3.75 sq feet inside. Everyone normally says 4 sq ft inside, and 10 outside. We have 124 sq ft outdoor run for 18 chickens and we let them free range 2-3 times a week.. They did fine this past winter with both blizzards. There was no pecking or injuries. Right before winter hits, we go out and get heavy duty plastic from home depot and cover the top, and 2 sides of the run. We put it on the side the wind mostly comes from. That will help prevent most of the snow from getting into the run, and it will allow the chickens more space to roam in the winter.
    Last edited: May 17, 2011
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Two thoughts on 3x6 vs 4x8. Larger uses lumber sizes more efficiently, leaving less waste. It also makes the coop big enough for inside nest boxes, quite a savings in effort and materials, never mind that external ones are difficult to seal and predator proof -- and even more difficult to adjust if the chickens decide they don't like to use them. You will be glad for the extra space -- a place to put a sick chicken, or maybe a broody, room to add a couple of birds, room to store feed and supplies -- heck I have a lawn chair in mine.

    Really, a lot depends on whether they can or will get outdoors in winter. They don't mind cold, but as a rule, I read, they won't walk on snow.
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Oh yes - definitely go for the larger size!! As ddawn suggested, it even prevents waste of lumber. Smaller coops are more doable (without behavioral issues erupting) in year round mild areas because the birds literally are never inside except to lay eggs and to roost. But in your area, your birds will choose to stay inside much more than spring/summer/fall.
  6. llaaadyel

    llaaadyel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2010
    Lower NY
    I am currently building a coop and run for 15 chickens. The coop is 8x8 and the run is 16x8. I think I tried to follow the 4 sq foot per chicken math, but I don't know if chicken math is going to take over and I might end up with a couple more than planned. This was for me the largest coop that I would even attempt to build on my own and as a woman doing all of the work, it has been really hard. Ill let you know if I think when it is all over that it was rewarding. [​IMG]
  7. Hoosierchickens

    Hoosierchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 9, 2011
    Cloverdale, IN
    4' x 8' makes more sense from a lumber use perspective to me (make sure that's your exterior/outer diameter dimensions so the plywood fits with minimal cuts.) It will also allow for slight grow even if unintended and help prevent behavioral issues when the weather is bad.
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Well it's not like SE PA has such severe harsh winters [​IMG] (I grew up outside Philly, near Lansdale).

    But still, I would totally agree that it is best to err on the side of more space. Just build the darn thing as big as you can stand, and then that is the size it will be [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

  9. Baymen Moe

    Baymen Moe Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 17, 2009
    Pembroke, Ma.
    Quote:For what it's worth, we had tons of snow this winter and my birds would walk on the snow without batting an eye. That being said, they did love me more when I would shovel out some from the run and reveal bare ground.
  10. NattiFan

    NattiFan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2010
    Plainfield, CT
    lots of good replies already.....I agree...go bigger than you think you will need. I have 5 girls in a 4x6...they have plenty of room and had no issues this winter. They all huddled up close to eachother and stayed warm all winter long. But yes, go bigger than you think you need.

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